This paper addresses a central question confronting politicians, business leaders, and economic planners throughout the world: How can local economic communities survive and prosper in the rapidly changing global economy? The paper reports on a comparative case study of two key regions in the North Sea oil and gas province: the Stavanger region on the southwest coast of Norway and the Aberdeen region in northeast Scotland. These two regions proved an ideal setting for a matched pair comparison, as the circumstances under which they developed into oil capitals are strikingly similar. Yet the development of local technological and industrial capabilities followed different paths in the two locations. On the other hand, these differences do not appear to have led to significantly different levels of international competitiveness. Although Stavanger and Aberdeen are characterized by very different local innovation systems, the available evidence suggests that outcomes have been similar along significant dimensions of industry performance.